A piece from Esperanҫa’s CEO, Jeri Royce
A recent NPR article entitled “Advice to Parachuting Docs: Think Before You Jump Into Poor Countries” talks about using caution when providing medical support in less developed and poor countries. Typical mistakes made by the “Parachuting Doc” include performing surgeries in areas where no local healthcare worker is available to offer help if the patient develops complications, offering free medical services that takes business away from local docs, medical students performing surgery they wouldn’t be able to do in the U.S. because they haven’t had the training, and expired medications being administered. While good intentions are the motivation, you could say that more harm than good comes from these types of “outside-in” oriented practices.
What makes Esperanҫa different? Our approach to working in communities whether in the U.S. or internationally, is “inside-out.” We don’t swoop in presuming to know what the community needs. We partner with those in the community to bring what’s needed defined by the community, not what we think is needed. To make a more significant impact, Esperanҫa’s program model is to partner with an in-country indigenous organization who shares our mission, values and principles. Our goal is to help that organization and local communities reach sustainability and self-sufficiency. Regardless of the work – volunteer surgical program, nutrition and food security, disease prevention and treatment, home building and improvements, clean water and sanitation, Esperanҫa’s “inside-out” program model has been our guiding principle for 48 years.